Entries Posted in "Culture"

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Fashion Trends
February 7, 2004

There is a horrible fashion trend that has descended upon the consumers of America and beyond. They are Australian sheepskin boots. They are called Uggs. I'm assuming the name comes from the fact that they are UGG-LY. Not since the 80's have I seen such a horrendous fashion trend. Who is responsible for this? The Australians. Thank God Hillsong Music has redeemed my opinion of Australians. But for upwards of $200 a pop, what in tarnation would cause someone to actually think these suckers are cute? I've even seen girls wearing them with skirts?!? Now I've tried these on (burning curiousity I suppose) and I'll admit, they're both comfortable and warm. But "going hiking in the mountains warm" not "I wanna be part of a fashion trend warm". These boots seem to be the most popular in sunny California (someone help me understand the logic there). Whatever the case may be, these shoes are all the rave and I don't get why. Collectively, we Americans have brains the size of peas when it comes to consumerism. We do very little thinking for ourselves and usually rely on the media and what we see to dictate what we should be buying; especially in the fashion world. I've usually found that image creates desire and if you see something enough times, what was once ugly now seems chic. This is a marketing nightmare. But no matter how many times I see these uggified boots, they still seem hideous to me.

Another strange phenomenon is the fact that we consumers have some need to spend lots of money on things that shouldn't cost lots of money. Like jeans. And I'll be the first to admit, the combined market value of 5 pairs of jeans in my closet is about $800. I of course, being a bargain hunter didn't pay that price, but the concept still sickens me nonetheless. Truth be told, there's not a heck of a lot of difference between a pair of generic and designer jeans but the label. Sometimes quality differs, but even that's fargone these days.

I've been observing the Gap, Inc. over the last couple of years. Their sales were WAY down around this time last year--about 10%--which in the retail world is horrible. Interestingly enough, the Gap still had their same quality, same basic clothes. One of their main problems was, get this: their price point. Their jeans were too cheap. People wanted to buy "expensive jeans". So you guessed, it, sometime last year, the Gap introduced "1969" their upscale denim line. What a load of crap. The reality is, there's no difference in this new line of jeans. They're just more expensive. Currently, the Gap's sales are up. My hypothesis on this: We consumers want to have the best of the best, even if we can't afford it. "Faking the funk" so to speak, is a nice consolation prize for not being "well-off" enough to afford to pay $185 for a pair of Diesel Jeans without going into debt. So we'll buy the expensive pair of Gap jeans over the cheap ones because it makes us look more successful. This is the craziest concept to me. While the discount stores (Target, Walmart, TJ Maxx, Nordstrom Rack) are extremely successful these days, it's the (middle stores) whose clothes aren't too expensive but aren't too cheap that are losing in sales. Why? All because of some ugly boots. Well, not really but I'd like to think so.

Posted in Culture, Fashion Faux Pas | Permanent Link | Comments { 1 }
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Street Gimmicks
February 3, 2004

If there's one thing that I hate on the face of the earth it's gimmicks. I have often ranted about my extreme distaste for the prevailing culture of panhandling that's taking place on the streets of Seattle. Some of these pan handlers, mind you, make more than I do in a year. Downtown is probably the worse in terms of gimmick"ers". Some have been there for years while others are new on the scene. There is an assigned schedule as to who gets "what" corner and "when". You will rarely find more than two working a block at once. It is an interesting phenomenon, and if you're dumb and not discerning, they will take your every last dollar. But not this chicky, I reserve my hard-earned blessings for those truly in need. A friend mentioned a comment Lakita Garth, (a great woman of God who's been on Politically Incorrect, the Senate floor, you name it) said in reference to the "homeless" problem, and I paraphrase, "One way to get some of the homeless people off the street is to send them home." Sounds overly simplistic, however very true in many cases. One, being that there are a great many of panhandlers who have places to stay. This is the case with a lot of the teenagers you see here in Seattle. My mom's a college professor and has mentioned that on more than one occassion she has passed by her TUITION-PAYING students, sitting on the streets, with beggar signs. Two, being that like MANY societal problems, the root issue is a family one. This is a present reality. The breakdown of the family pours out into the streets, turns into crime, turns into poverty, and turns into much of what the government has tried to remedy for years. We don't have crime problems, we have family problems. I often wonder what is the state the family relationships of some of the panhandlers I see on the streets. Many have been shunned by their families due to a physical handicap, others may be estranged from key family members. I also realize there are those who may have no family whatsoever. The widows and the orphans. To those, the body of Christ has an immense obligation. Garth's statement was really revelatory to me as I've never pondered the role one's family should (or should not) play in one's financial or housing situation. It bears some thought.

For the abundance of seriousness (and reality) in my words, I feel I need to remain true to the title as I've side-tracked. So I've begun my running list of consistent characters you will find on the streets of downtown Seattle on any given day. Keep in mind, many, if not most of these people are not homeless. This is of course the "greatness of america". You can gimmick your way into just about anything.

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21st Century Leadership
February 2, 2004

Well we made it to February. I found out Dr. Fuchsia Pickett "went to sleep" this past Friday. It seems as though many of God's Generals are passing on. In this past year alone we lost Dr. Bill Bright and Dr. Kennith Hagin among others. I believe this year as well we will see the passing of the baton taking place in the body of Christ. It is interesting to me that not even since Martin Luther King have we truly had what I deem to be truly powerful and influential leaders of this generation (meaning, their influence and their worlds are still heralded around the world).

Every now and then I participate in some of the discussion on the message boards at Relevant Magazine. Yes, I realize that makes me a nerd, but I have actually had some decent discussions there. Some odd months ago, I posted a question for the world (well, a small percentage of it) to see, "Who are/Will be some of the great 21st century leaders?" The Question sat dead for a very long time. A few people piped up with "Billy Graham". Perhaps they'd not understood the question? In the end, people tossed around a few names, namely Billy Graham and ultimately deduced that the upcoming generation shies away from "superstardom" and thus the reason why we can't identify leaders. I'm sorry, but this is the biggest pile of dung I've ever heard. I'm being dramatic of course, but I find it sad that no one can think of an influential leader aside from Dr. Graham. I respect that man deeply, but even as the generals I listed off earlier, I believe Billy Graham's season is coming to a close and that must become a reality for us.

When I look at the music industry for example, I see an abundance of influence. However misappropriated, it's still present. Even worse, I see a generation that is hungry for leadership in whatever form it may come. I eagerly await the sons of God to be revealed. I believe this is the season for new spiritual leadership not just within the "four walls of the church" but in all jurisdictions: government, medicine, film, television, dance, business. You name it. I reject the notion that we won't have tremendous leaders in this century. I just believe they will look different than leaders of the past because it's a new season. I only hope that we will not become stumbling blocks in our own process of progression. We need to give honor where honor is due by acknowledging the shoulders we stand upon, however, we cannot dwell on and rest upon those shoulders. Now the real work begins.

Posted in Culture, Theocracy | Permanent Link
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Happy Birthday Dr. King
January 19, 2004

Guess where I am. In my office, sitting at my desk, working. Apparently, we don't celebrate this holiday. Again I say, stay far away from retail. Unfortunately, I don't have anything really deep, profound, or prolific to say. Most of what I've felt about this day has already been expressed at some point in my life. In many ways I've become callous to this day and what it signifies. I attribute part of that to the tokenization (is that a word?..well it is now) of this day. I've found that most of America decides to become very multi-cultural right about this time of year and it usually ends on February 28th; the end of black history month. Growing up in predominately white schools, I think I got just about all I could of the "Greatness" of Martin Luther King I could handle. We would usually sing while holding hands in some circle, "We Shall Overcome"...gag me with a spoon. Hear me out. I don't trivialize Dr. King in the least. He was a prophet to that generation. But I believe we have trivialized his message. "We shall overcome some day.....deep in my heart, I do believe that we shall overcome some day." We sing it once a year and go on our merry way; no one ever stopping to recognize what true overcoming is. It seems we forget that Dr. King was a man of God first. Before he wore any titles of Dr., Rev. "Great" or "Activist", he was a man of God.

How interesting is it that many groups such as the homosexual community have championed Dr. King and his teachings. Many forgetting that this very person is one who directly opposed that lifestyle. Interestingly enough, it was one of my college history professors, who also happened to be a lesbian that pointed this out to me.

I have issue with the fact that Dr. King's faith is very much left out of much of what we say about him. The talk of racial reconciliation and oneness and unity has been going on for generations and while yes we've come so far, we've got more places to go. I challenge however, that this "dream" that even Dr. King talks about won't come through social organizations or mechanisms, programs or institutions, music, poetry, or osmosis; but only by the spirit of God and the unity that comes in the fellowship and revelation of the reality of Jesus Christ and the brotherhood we find in His Life. The only time I have ever felt complete and total unity with those of other races and backgrounds has been with my brothers and sisters in Christ. I say that will be the thread that holds the world together. Will we all get there? Nope. There will be those who reject this reality. Even the Bible declares that. But I long for the day when the body of Christ will be the example by which the world comes to see how racial barriers can be broken. (We've got a ways to go) The Bible speaks to social justice and the disenfranchised. The Bible speaks to racism and inequality. This "freedom" and this "overcoming" everyone talks and sings about is not the true freedom and overcoming I believe was in the message of Dr. King. True freedom is knowing your identity in God. True freedom is when God's spirit is present. True overcoming is by the blood of the Lamb and the power of our testimonies. That is my prayer on this day to honor a man of God. That the body of Christ would recognize our place in all this and get in position. Let's start with the most segregated day of the week. Sunday.

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Why I'm Not a Republican Parts I, II, III, IV
Reflections on the Ill-Read Society
The ROI of a Kid
The Double-Minded Haters
Hindsight
Hip-Hop in Education: Do You Wanna Revolution?
Oh parent Where Art Thou?
Requisite Monthly Rant: the State of the Nation
College Curriculum Gone Wild
Walmart Chronicles
An Open Letter to American Idol
Gonorrhea and the City

I Have a Talk Show